An enjoyable night out with friends can turn into a terrible nightmare involving the police. You had a few glasses of wine with friends, and now the police have arrested your for driving while under the influence (DUI). You might be wondering how much trouble you are in and what you can do to protect your legal rights. This is where a Central Valley DUI attorney can help!
If you have been arrested for drunk driving, you may be facing either a misdemeanor or felony conviction. This is commonly referred to as a DUI “wobbler” offense. If you caused an accident while under the influence which resulted in only minor injuries to another person, you may be charged with a misdemeanor DUI. However, if the injuries are serious, you will be charged with a felony DUI-even if it’s your first offense. A DUI can also become a felony if you had children under the age of fourteen in your car at the time or you had a very had blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
3 Offenses Constituting a Felony DUI in California
The following three offenses constitute a felony DUI under California laws:
- Vehicular manslaughter (unintended killing of another person with a vehicle). Drunk driving that causes serious or death injury is a felony. In order for the prosecution to file this charge, they need to prove that the victim suffered severe injuries, not just scrapes, cuts and bruises. A felony DUI can also consist of you hitting another person or vehicle while under the influence. If the victim dies due to your intoxication, you can be charged with either second degree murder or DUI manslaughter.
- Habitual DUI offenses (4 or more within 10 years). After a third DUI conviction, the court will charge you with a felony for any additional DUIs. The prosecution has a right to charge habitual DUI as a misdemeanor. However, this only happens in rare cases when an experienced Central Valley DUI attorney is involved in the negotiation process.
- Prior DUI felony conviction. If you have already been convicted of a DUI felony, the courts will charge you with another felony for subsequent DUIs within ten years, regardless of your BAC or whether the DUI resulted in any serious injuries.
Other situations that can result in a felony DUI charge include:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Driving with elevated BAC (.15 or more)
- Driving with a revoked, restricted or suspended license
- Driving with children in your vehicle while you are drunk
Call an Experienced Central Valley DUI Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI, it is in your best interest to immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you learn your legal rights and options.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley drunk driving defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call 209-323-5558 or complete our online form.